Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by MACTRAXX
 
Guys: My name is MACTRAXX and I am new to RR.NET. I have been interested in CTA operations since the 70s. I always liked the operation of the Skokie Swift - Now with the removal of catenary lines is there a market for thru operation to the LOOP? I can picture the CTA having a printed timetable clearly marked as there was one for the thru Evanston Express trains. I know that track slots and logistics can be worked out to allow this. It would be a limited service of maybe 2 trains per hour at first with expansion to more if there is a demand. These trains would stop at the same limited stops as the EE trains - go around the Loop and then back to Skokie. Any opinions? MACTRAXX

  by F40CFan
 
You may or may not be aware of this site, but

www.chicago-l.org

is excellent.

Under the "tranisit plans" link, there is another link called "Circle Line Plan". This shows possible future reroutings, such as creating a "Ravenswood-Douglas" through routing. I don't think it mentions anything about the "Swift", though.

  by MACTRAXX
 
F40c: I am VERY aware of Chicago-L.org - Graham Garfield's site. It is arguably one of the best transit sites around! It is one way I keep up on what is going on on the CTA. In your opinion can this service work? MACTRAXX

  by F40CFan
 
I think there's probably too much traffic already. It would be nice, though.
  by MACTRAXX
 
Everyone:

When I joined Railroad.net ten years ago this was my first new topic in the Chicagoland Forum...

I noted the recent Evanston Express expanded service mentioned and wonder if the CTA has ever considered
operating a limited group of weekday rush-hour trains from Dempster Terminal down to the Loop - I am thinking
a total of four trains in each peak period running about 30 minutes apart which would stop at Howard primarily
to discharge passengers and then operate nonstop to either Fullerton or Belmont for transfer purposes and then
Chicago Avenue southbound...I would name these runs "Skokie Express" Yellow Line trains...

Would there be track slots available for this new operation and would it involve taking time slots from current
"Evanston Express" Purple Line trains?

Can Oakton and Dempster/Skokie ridership support and use this limited experimental service and make it a
permanent CTA service option?

MACTRAXX
  by doepack
 
MACTRAXX wrote:Everyone:

Would there be track slots available for this new operation and would it involve taking time slots from current
"Evanston Express" Purple Line trains?
That's exactly why it wouldn't work. The NSM between the Loop and Belmont is pretty much maxed out in terms of capacity during rush, with the Loop itself being crowded as well. Attempting to synchronize Yellow line service for timely transfers at Howard to the Purple line expresses would be more realistic...
  by MACTRAXX
 
DP:

Thanks for the reply - Since the NSM line between Howard and Belmont is at capacity and running these trains
through the Loop could be affected by congestion therefore it would not be feasible to offer this service option...

Another thought - How many cars are assigned on peak Evanston Express trains? When I came up with this idea
I was thinking of these Skokie Express trains using four car sets - would that have had not enough capacity to be
able to provide adequate through service south of Howard?

Would this through train service - even in its limited state - have caused any kind of equipment or car shortage type
problems on the Skokie Swift route? I felt that this was significant when the catenary was still being used and that
through service would not have been practical until the flexibility of being able to use any car type was attained by
eliminating that problem...

I agree - adjusting the Skokie Swift peak schedules to provide convenient transfers to through Evanston Express
trains is now the easiest way to provide reliable service on this busy route south of Howard...

MACTRAXX
  by ryanch
 
How long and difficult is the process of coupling? Could a 2-car Swift pull in for a 6-car Express to pull up behind and couple to?
  by Tadman
 
That's a good point. I would think running an 8-car express that splits at Howard would be a great way to squeeze 100+ more people into a timetable/track slot. You may be track-slot constrained, but every express has space for 2 more cars.
  by ryanch
 
Tadman wrote:That's a good point. I would think running an 8-car express that splits at Howard would be a great way to squeeze 100+ more people into a timetable/track slot. You may be track-slot constrained, but every express has space for 2 more cars.
Does anyone here know the procedure? Coupling on the way southbound seems (relatively) easy. Is decoupling harder?

My assessment that coupling would be easy is based on the very solid engineering understanding I gained from having an HO-scale trainset that I occasionally played with 40 years ago. You just bang the cars together and they're coupled. But to decouple, you had to run over a decoupler. So admittedly, real trains are probably a lot different, and my assumption is ridiculously glib and without any real evidence.

But can anyone tell us how difficult it is? Can decoupling be accomplished at the Howard platform, so that loaded outbounds can be separated to run their separate ways? Or would it require pulling into the yard? Is coupling considered safe and appropriate while a car is loaded?
  by justalurker66
 
ryanch wrote:My assessment that coupling would be easy is based on the very solid engineering understanding I gained from having an HO-scale trainset that I occasionally played with 40 years ago. You just bang the cars together and they're coupled. But to decouple, you had to run over a decoupler. So admittedly, real trains are probably a lot different, and my assumption is ridiculously glib and without any real evidence.
Yeah ... a little bit different. :-D
Hopefully the experts will chime in.

When the bigger South Shore trains couple and decouple they can do it with passengers on board but it takes time and there are brake tests required before the train can proceed. Additional time at the platform is would require larger holes in the schedule to allow the train to occupy Howard station longer.
  by Backshophoss
 
The couplers are of a type used on NYCTA,and Boston's T subways that also couple the air brake lines and mu controls
Not sure if a wrench or a key is used for the uncoupling,But both sets of cars need to do a complete brake test
before moving,that takes time,not a good idea during am/pm rush hours.
  by sipes23
 
I'd rather cross the platform for a waiting train than wait in the train for all the testing.

And when I say waiting train, I do mean carefully timed so as to meet not sitting there idle waiting for the Swift.
  by F40CFan
 
Starting with the PCC 'L' cars, there were no longer any air brakes, therefore no need for air lines. If I remember correctly, all of the electrical connections are on the coupler. Therefore there is no need for a lengthy process. I believe there was an "uncouple" button in the cab to speed up that process. I remember riding the Ravenswood and having them couple a two car mid-day train to a four-car consist in the station to make up a 6 car rush hour train. All the conductor had to do was hook up the springs and chains and change the destination signs from "ALL STOP" to "A" or "B".
  by Tadman
 
sipes23 wrote: I do mean carefully timed so as to meet not sitting there idle waiting for the Swift.
You've never lived until you've waited 15 minutes between Swift trains and red or purple trains to downtown at Howard in the lovely winter gusts. It is freaking brutal up on those platforms in this weather.